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NOAA Alternative Dispute Resolution Program

ADR Definitions

Alternative Dispute Resolution - Decision making processes to resolve conflicts that do not involve litigation, or formal EEO complaints, formal grievances, or disciplinary actions.

“Common courtesy” - When you agree to mediate using common courtesy, you are agreeing not to interrupt another speaker, and to avoid using inflammatory language.

“Good faith” - When you agree to mediate in “good faith”, you are agreeing to be willing to listen, to share all pertinent information, to keep an open mind, and to be willing to negotiate without holding to a fixed position.

Interest - A concern, need, or desire behind an issue–why the issue is being raised.

Interest-based negotiation - A process that seeks to discover and satisfy the underlying interests of parties rather than to meet the stated positions or demands that they bring to negotiation. Also known as win-win negotiation.

Issue - A subject under discussion or negotiation, the what, the problem to be solved.

Mediation - A structured dispute resolution process in which a person or persons with no interest in the outcome of the conflict assist the disputants in reaching a negotiated settlement of their differences. The mediation process is voluntary and aims at a signed agreement defining future behavior of the disputants. The mediators help parties communicate, negotiate, and reach agreements and settlements but are not empowered to render a decision.

Option - A potential, often partial, solution that can meet one or more interests.

Position-based negotiation - A term that describes the traditional approach to negotiation, in which the parties are firmly committed to their bargaining position and exchange proposals and counter proposals in the anticipation that one or more parties will compromise to achieve a settlement of the dispute. Also known as win-lose negotiation.